It feels like forever since we’ve gone on a field trip. So on a cold early March morning, #13 and #23 took a field trip to the former site of Fort Gothenberg, which is now a public park in Essington, PA.
This is how the park looks from the road, and it gives you a good idea about what you should expect. This a public park first and foremost. Most people are there to walk their dogs or get exercise, or to visit the playground, gazebos, and amphitheater. The historical importance of the site is secondary.
There are some historic markers by the main entrance that provide some information about the site’s history.
Upon entering, the first thing you really see are log cabins. These are not original to the site; they’re originally from a historic site near Fort Elfsborg in Salem, NJ and were moved to Governor Printz Park a few years ago. These would be typical of Finnish-style log cabins but do not correspond to any of the structures we know would have been at Fort Gothenburg, in design or placement. Shown here are a stable and a storehouse.
(Note the historic Holiday Inn Express in the background of the first photo.)
There are also little placards with historical information on them. They are… not good. Information is presented out of order and out of context. There are spelling and grammatical errors; awkward layouts where text is cut off by images; highly pixelated low-resolution images; and more. If you didn’t know anything about New Sweden before visiting the park, I don’t think they would help mutch.
Near the approximate location of the Printzhof, there’s a weird little “board game” where you step on tiles, read quotes from Printz’s letters, and possibly even gain or lose a turn. The goal to is eventually reach the Printzhof tile. I’m sure this seemed clever to the people who designed it but I’d be surprised to hear if anyone has ever actually used it as intended.
Down by the river there’s a statue of Governor Printz. A highly flattering statue, I should add. It’s the right height, but the real Printz weighed almost 400 pounds. That suit should be a lot tighter. In his hands, the statue clutches the instructions given to Printz by Queen Christina. (Such as they were.)
And then down by the river there’s a small stand of flagpoles flying the flags of the Lenape Nation, Sweden, Pennsylvania, the United States and Tinicum. The Swedish flag is looking a little ragged.
Would I recommend a visit to Governor Printz Park? If you’re interested in history, no. You won’t learn much, and what you do learn will be more than a little confused. On the other hand, it’s a cute little community park that I’m sure nearby residents enjoy.